Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pitchers going up tomorrow on Etsy

My Hope (HOPE!) is to get more pictures of pitchers up on Etsy tomorrow. Didnt get to post anything there today. Luckily, I think we're done shooting images of pots and lampworked beads and earrings and pins today. I took down the slide-shooting display earlier in the day. Alas, I found that our studio ceiling leaks, leaving a nasty drip along most of the seamless paper backdrop. Not quite useless but a good 8 feet of it are toast!

From Sun Kil Moon

Tune from Nick Drake

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And then things warmed up

Today our white Christmas became Mudville. Our driveway had been heading for status as the biggest glacier in the lower 48. Today all is gooey sticky mud. Not quite impassable but CLOSE!

As a result, the short little jaunt we have between the studio and the house has become an exercise in slipping and sliding and glopping mud everywhere. So much for a clean house after the holidays!

Nancy and I spent most of today working on getting her Etsy site to work. That meant LOTS more pictures and tons of image manipulation, data entry and making sure we could find everything afterwards. Now it's all done and her site is live.

If all goes well, by the end of January we hope to have the Etsy site linked to our website so that folks can buy things directly from the website. Should be fun!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (albeit a day late).

We spent Christmas day over in Corning with Nancy's folks. Just a few happy pictures from the morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More stuff up on Etsy

I put more pots up on Etsy last night and this morning.

My goal is to add 3-5 or so at a time.

Hopefully each week I can find a little time to shoot new work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Etsy site is finally live

There's precious little on it yet, but after shooting more images tomorrow, there will be plenty!

I am curious to hear how folks maintain their Etsy sites.

Here is our Etsy link:

Joining Etsy

This has been our strangest year to date. We had a very strong summer, weak fall, and so far our holiday shopping has been stop and go. Kind of odd. The sales we have had, have been great. It's always excellent to reconnect with patrons and to meet new customers.

To that end, we are branching out into new territory. At the suggestion of some potter friends, we are going to give Etsy a whirl. See if we can't turn it into our studio's website shopping cart. Anyone with advice/warnings about Etsy out there?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Head Cold

This week has had me down with a nasty head/chest cold. So, instead of pots, I have pictures of stuff. Hopefully next week will have tons more pictures of pots.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hockey to the max

When I started shooting pictures of Aurora on the ice five years ago, they were typical parent pics. Shot of the kid watching the puck go by, pics of the kid falling down, pics of the kid getting back up. Otherwise they were pics of empty greyish ice.

Last year during the TGHA tournament there was a fellow taking pictures with a cannon of a camera. Top of the line Nikon D1 with a MASSIVE 400mm f/2.8 lens... a photog's orgy of gear. His pictures were fantastic in terms of his ability to get high speed shots of players on the ice under horrid lighting conditions. Really a testimony to how far technology has come.

My only beef, was that his eye didn't follow my kid. Ever. Out of 200 pictures there were two of Aurora. Ugh. So this year I sought to change that. I took a LOT of pictures during the first game of the tournament. Here are a few of Aurora doing her thing!

This is the original image. Shot during the first game of the tournament.

This is the original image. Shot during the first game of the tournament.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Learnin' Stuff

I have been trying to work on my photography skills this week. I spent most of today and all of Monday shooting images for Mary Ellen Salmon. I love her pottery. Rich red sandy clay, full of texture. Very different from the porcelaineous clay we use. Her textures are a joy to shoot because the light plays off all the nooks and crannies so well! To that end, here is a preview of Mary Ellen Salmon's latest works.

When I say I have been working on photo skills, I really do mean it. Try as I might, this camera is still showing me tricks and pitfalls I never knew or understood. This week's lessons have centered around light. How to get shadows to fall exactly where you want them? How do you get light to bend around little corners, just enough to give you an edge to a form? Oy veh!

I spent a good chunk of time looking at the photo shooting setup of John Tilton's on his blog : Contemporary Art Porcelain. I am continually blown away by the richness of his images and the contrast between background and foreground. John was kind enough to show us all how he does it. (see this blog posting) I may be slow, but it took me over a week to finally figure out that he was basically shooting into a tunnel. Then the light in my head went on. Ah hah! So today's fun has been trying to figure out a way to do something similar on our end.... but minus his strobes and bouncing stuff off the ceiling, etc. Working with the lights we have.... here's what I was able to pull off. Thank you John Tilton. You not only opened my eyes to a new way of seeing shadow and light... you also gave me warm washup water! That aquarium heater idea has made me one VERY happy man.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where things lead

squared footed form from a student at Utah State

tumbler made at Utah State circa 1997

two footed mugs fresh from the kiln this week

I have been wanting to flesh out this idea of where we derive our pots. I think in general potter's best pots are amalgamations of other pots, digested and regurgitated over time. So, for today's posting.... a rumination on how feet and twisty forms came together to become our footed mugs.

The footed squared mug was from a student of mine at Utah State. I love the gesture in her markmaking, and the sort of off-kilter wonkiness the feet give the form.

The tumbler was the Utah State incarnation of a tumbler idea I had been playing around with for about 5 years at the time.

By the time my daughter was about 5, she asked if we could make pots that looked like they were walking. All of these ideas, rolled together became, over the past 8 years or so, the footed mugs we make today.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another tune that keeps me rockin' in the studio

This is Run Runaway from Great Big Sea. Actually a cover from the 80s band Slade. This is a MUCH better rendition! Great Big Sea turned us on to the myriad musicians in Newfoundland and throughout Canada.

Music in the studio today

I always wonder what other potters are listening to in their studios.
I love this tune.

David Byrne - Sax and Violins (Live at Union Chapel)

Getting ready for the weekend

This weekend we will be split between the studio (and hopefully lots of folks out shopping!)... and HOCKEY! This is the TGHA tournament weekend, so Aurora and I will be out at games from Friday afternoon till we turn the lights out on Sunday night. Should be fun!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More platters

91498A ©2008

82598C ©2008

A few more platters for a midweek posting.

These smaller platters with the ultra thick rims were a fascinating experiment. Really gave the platters MUCH greater mass and depth. I wish there were more of them. I think only four of them survived the firing process.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Details and ideas for the future

22698C detail ©2008

9298A detail ©2008

Here are a few detail shots of some recent platters. We've had a great reception to these platters this summer and fall. Lots of folks anxious to see more of them! To that end, we're steadily plugging away at getting images of ALL the platter onto our website. Hopefully by the end of January, we should be able to have them all on ONE page, and all their pricing and sizing info to boot. Might even make it possible to buy them through Etsy or some other storefront.

Here's to the New Year (which seems just around the bend...)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not Knowing

It's very hard not really knowing how far this economic instability is going to travel. This morning I was reading about how larger institutions like hotels and grocery stores and shopping malls are starting to have their properties foreclosed by banks. WOW. That is wild. Makes pottery seem at once insignificant and yet simultaneously enormously relevant.

Objects made by hand are so crucial to the well-being of a great society. I've spoken with a lot of people who assume that somehow technology is going to solve all of our problems. I disagree. If we are to survive and prosper, I really think that it will be due to our ability to empathize and to share in the stories of others. I have been reading A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink, and I am finding so many social relevances that (I hope) may finally be put into play. Give it a read. I hope you are as surprised as I was.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Making LOTS of stuff - including pies and mashed taters


This has been an insane week. So many firings that I cant remember a day without loading or unloading pots. Kiln shelves dont even get cold to the touch before they are heading back into the toaster. Had my first "seconds" in weeks this morning. Some of our Forest Green pots came out with thin spots around the rim of a few pots. No fun!

A few people have asked me to post more images of how we make our plates and oval trays. So here they are! We're going to do a short weekend workshop on making and using these wooden forms. Hope we can pull it off sometime in either Feb or March.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wet, Wild and Wintery Monday Night

Coming home from Hockey on Monday night, the slushy roads were just bouncing all this colored light everywhere. Had to grab a few shots. Definitely food for future photoshoots.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Working on holiday cards and thank you cards

We have been trying to figure out ways of thanking our patrons who see us through all the rough spots any studio has. They show up in inclement weather for openings, they find us at shows when we get our booth space moved, ... most of all, they appreciate all the work we do in the studio. They bring our work into their homes and along with it... part of ourselves.

So, we've been working on ideas for holiday greeting cards and potential thank you cards.
Here are a few ideas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


How to tell when your stairs have been designed by an engineer.
They STAY level the whole time you're building.

The past few weeks are beginning to resolve into some sort of cohesive image. The trench is done. The furnace repair parts are in hand. The plumbers are coming out Friday to hook it all up. We have finished our last out of town show. And last night, as darkness came over everything, we put the deck railing on our new steps. Still need to do the stair railing but with the forecast saying nothing but rain and snow for the next week, it's hard to work outdoors.

So here are some pics of what we've been up to. Enjoy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fine Craft Show in Rochester

We're finally home after a long weekend at the Fine Craft Show in Rochester.
We met some new faces, made a few new friends, and had a good time. As with all of our shows this year, sales were off. Probably made less than half what we made at this same show two years ago. Somehow it doesn't surprise me at all.

The good: This show IS the tops when it comes to making an artist feel good at a show. They pamper you in the most awesome ways. Friday night before the preview party, artists are invited to a chili dinner. Some chocolate brownies helped us recharge our batteries after an exhausting setup. After closing things up at 9pm we made our way over to our host's house. Judy was the most amazing host anyone could ask for. Morning came and found us breakfasted to the hilt and ready for a new day. Dinner Saturday night was with Teddie and her husband at their home (along with about 8 other artists from the show). Feasting on salmon and pork loin is not what most shows are like for us! Sunday morning we awoke to an artist's breakfast at the museum. During show tear-down we had even MORE help than we had during set-up. Judy came and helped pack us out. The Kings were there to help schlep our boxes out to the van/trailer. Talk about a different way to look at a show. This was just about the best way one could imagine a show coming together.

Tomorrow we have a tour group of docents coming down from the Memorial Art Gallery to attend an exhibition of Edo period prints from Japan at the Johnson Museum at Cornell. After their tour at Cornell, they are stopping by here for a short talk on the influence of Japanese ceramics on our work (past and present). Should be a fun time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pride and Awe

This morning I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. When I listened to Obama's acceptance speech, I just cried. Watching these images of huge crowds of people taking to the streets cheering for the outcome of the election. It makes me proud. I am so glad my daughter got a chance to see this. The past eight years have made her a real cynic when it comes to politics. On my end, I have felt that way since Carter left office. Today I have hope. Real hope. It feels like the world shifted just a little bit, maybe a lot. It makes me proud to know that an intelligent, caring, hopeful, African-American man is in the White House. Rather than delve into all the negativity that this election season dragged up, I am so excited to be looking forward with optimism. This is just the coolest thing in the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween Antics

Our first ever and FAVORITE bumper sticker. There are times you just have to say
NO to crazy freakin' wanna-be VPs.

Here are a couple pictures of Aurora's costume this year.